Saturday, May 31, 2008

Can't stop the cute

I am chopped liver compared to the magic that is daddy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's the "nearly new" part that gets me every time

So did you all hear about the German couple who got busted trying to sell their baby on Ebay? Horrible, right? I thought so too - until I read their ad. And then I laughed long and hard.

"Offering my nearly new baby for sale, as it has gotten too loud. It is a male baby, nearly 28 inches (70 cm) long and can be used either in a baby carrier or a stroller..."

As someone who's threatened to leave her baby by the side of the road with a FREE TO GOOD HOME sign I can totally see how selling your kid on Ebay could seem hilarious at 2 am. Babies are hard. Like No-Idea-How-Hard hard. I can picture these two sitting in front of the computer in the middle of the night after hours and hours of fruitless rocking and bouncing and patting and shushing but the baby is still screaming and there's nothingnothingnothing that will make him stop and letting off some steam by putting their baby up for sale. I mean maybe they were serious and deserve to have their child taken away (those Germans have no sense of humor) but mostly I just feel sorry for them.

How about it? Anybody else ever consider auctioning off their kid?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The buffet is closed.

It's amazing what you stumble upon while Googling.

I am currently breastfeeding, and my husband keeps asking me if he can have some too. Is it normal for me to breastfeed him as well? I don't mind . . . I'm just afraid that he won't leave enough for the baby. Help! What should I do?

Um, I have a few ideas.

At the risk of outing myself as a total prude, this post made me scrunch up my face. Maybe it's because I've literally squirted myself in the eye with my boob juice but there is nothing - NOTHING - erotic to me about breastfeeding. It can be sweet, sure, and you do release all kinds of lovely hormones but the thought of anyone other than an infant using my teat as a teat gives me the yicks. I tried to keep an open mind when I read this (whatever keeps the home fires burning!) but I simply can't understand the turn on. And at what point does the husband bring it up? When she's unhooking her sad, stained nursing bra? When the baby's in the middle of his morning nursing poo? While his wife is screaming and cursing because the baby's just bitten her for the fourth time in 20 minutes and she is done, done, done! Seriously. No.

Dude is seriously pervy.

After a rather uninspiring shopping experience this weekend I've realized a few things about my post-baby body: "clingy" is no longer a selling point. Neither is "sheer". And low-rise jeans were obviously invented by a man. I'm also declaring a fatwa on American Apparel. Not only for their cringe-inducing ad campaign (or the fact that the founder jerks off during interviews), but any store where the only thing I can fit into is a headband can bite me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Will is now 5 months old

I'm not sure this is what they meant when they said he'd be starting solids.

And they dim the lights when they draw your blood

The common cold is kicking our collective asses here at chez bebe. Will was up at 3:30 am coughing and cooing and generally unable to resettle. I was hoping to boob him back to sleep but sucking and breathing simultaneously wasn't happening. (suck-suck-suck, big gulp of air, suck-suck-suck...) Matt gets one hell of a gold star for going above and beyond with the daddy duties last night. Not only did he let the kid rest on his shoulder for hours on end but he got up with him at 5:45 am, fed him, and put him down for his first nap, all so I could get a few more hours sleep. (Seeing as how I'd spent the night snotting all over the sofa - how can a nose be both congested and runny? - it was much appreciated.)

I had my first post-baby physical yesterday and it was just as fun as I remembered. I recently switched primary care physicians and am now seeing baby W's doc at the Continuum Center. As I mentioned, the place is seriously big with the the woo-woo which my latent internal hippie loves but man, they take medical history questions to a whole new level. The form was 15 pages long.

Front and back.

A sample: "How many carbonated beverages do you consume?", "Do you have a regular spiritual/meditation practice?", "Have you ever had Mayan Uterine Massage?"

Remember, this is a place that offers leech therapy.

While I have yet to consider leech therapy (or mayan uterine massage) I love the fact that I could. (And if insurance covered it, I might. The comedy!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If only we had a wetnurse...

After many months of pregnancy and baby-having and colic and tiny apartment living and no sleep, Matt and I have decided to treat ourselves to a romantic getaway. Nothing fancy - no chartered planes to Napa or anything. Instead, we've booked ourselves a hotel. That's right friends, we're so desperate to get away we're staying in a hotel in the city where we live. We're not even able to say overnight - the kid still wakes up at 4 am. (Which sounds very smutty and "by the hour" of us, come to think of it. If only we were that cool.) Unfortunately there's no escaping that early morning call of duty, which practically kills me seeing as how the Westin is known for their Heavenly Beds. It was crazy expensive, but can you really put a price on romance? (Ask me again when that credit card bill arrives.)

Want to hear the best part? My husband, being the charming sort, spoke to the reservations manager and not only did she change the date of our stay (there was a bit of a frack up on my end with coordinating babysitting duties. Thanks a million, Amanda, for coming through!) but she upgraded us to a SPA ROOM!

Three words: shiatsu massage chair.

I may never leave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There is that stimulus money

According to UNICEF, 120,000 children in Ethiopia have only a month to live. They need to raise $10 million in order to feed pregnant women and children under 5 and they're pleading for donations.

Look at that face.

I can't breathe through my nose or taste anything.

This is an entry from that great blog I mentioned yesterday. While I suspect an article on naps is interesting to approximately two of you, I have to post it.

Amanda writes:

"Can you please give advice as to what to do? My little boy is 18 weeks old and will only fall asleep if held/nursed or pushed in his pram. If I try to put him down awake in his cot and sit with him to go to sleep he starts to scream and will eventually get into a state of some distress. I can not bear to see him cry in such a way. Can you please give me advice as to what steps I can take to learn him to self soothe without causing him any distress. Any help would be very much appreciated."

I really hate this idea that a baby should be able to go down in a crib awake and fall asleep on his/her own at only a few months old. I think it's highly unrealistic and causes a ton of stress for parents who think there's something wrong with them because their baby just won't do it. Of course there are going to be some babies who will be able to go down awake and put themselves to sleep from Day 1 (or a couple weeks old), but most kids really have to be taught how to go to sleep.

It seems to me that it helps to figure out exactly what your sleep goal is for your child. If your goal is to get your child to go to sleep without intervention from you at the youngest age possible, then it might be worth it to you to aggressively pursue training your child to go to sleep from an awake state, no matter how long it takes. If your goal is to condition your child to associate falling asleep with positive, stress-free time so that they'll fall asleep easily under various conditions for the rest of their life, then pushing your child to learn to self-soothe before the child is ready to is going to be counter-productive ultimately.

The advice some experts give that kids "have" to be be able to go down awake and get themselves to sleep by a certain age or they'll never do it is simply wrong and IMO is a scare tactic. Experts who can create fear and feelings of inadequacy in the people who read their books will get followers who buy more books and try even harder to live up to the experts' dogma. But think about it: Do you know anyone who needs her mother to come over and rock her to sleep as an adult? (And that creepy Love You Forever book doesn't count.)

OTOH, I do know several parents who have tried so hard to get their kids to go down awake (because some expert said they had to) that they ended up with 2-hour ordeals for naps and bedtime. The parents were frustrated and exhausted and felt inadequate, and the kids were jittery and exhausted. They all would have been far better off if the parents had just listened to their kids (instead of a book or TV show or website), rocked or strolled or nursed or pacifiered or whatever to sleep, and then adjusted to the next stage when it happened in another few weeks. You can't put a price on mental health, and you can't put a price on everyone getting some sleep.

As with everything else humans have to learn, self-soothing to sleep can't be taught until the person is physically and emotionally ready to learn. That point is different for all kids, but gets easier as a kid gets older. There are many babies who need to be rocked to sleep at 4 months who can soothe themselves to sleep at 6 months. Or who still need to be rocked to sleep at 11 months but can go to sleep on their own at 14 months. Some kids need some help going to sleep for years, and then one day just say, "Goodnight, Mom!" and go to sleep. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them--it's just the way they're wired. If you give them what they need, and every so often test to see if they're ready for the next step toward independence, separation and self-soothing will fall into place for them when they're ready for it.

It sounds like Amanda's son is just simply not ready to go down awake yet. So I'd stop trying completely at this point and revisit it in a month or so. In the meantime, I'd start laying the groundwork for teaching him to go to sleep by putting some kind of musical lovey in his pram with him while he's strolled to sleep. That way he'll start to associate this lovey and its music with falling asleep peacefully and easily. (This is also useful for babies who nurse to sleep--just snuggle the lovey in with the two of you while you nurse to sleep for a few weeks.) Then once you do go back to putting him down drowsy (don't try to go cold turkey to putting him down awake unless he's just passed one of the developmental leaps, stick to putting him down veeeeery drowsy) the music and lovey will help to bridge that "I'm half awake--should I go back to sleep or wake up and start crying?" gap.

Try again in another month and he'll tell you if he's ready for it. If he protests a little, keep trying, but if he becomes scared and worked up, back off again and just give it a little more time. All kids eventually get there, and if you push gently but not past what the child can take you'll end up with a kid who goes to bed happily and easily even at the age of 5 or 8 or 15 or during menopause.

Learning how to fall asleep is one tiny part of the main developmental task of the first year for babies, which is learning to trust the world and his/her parents. It can be a really stressful stage for parents, because it means you have to respond again and again and again, even when you're beyond exhausted. Please don't make it worse on yourself by believing the "don't let your kid do that!" hype. If your child is helped by a pacifier or music or a lovey or co-sleeping or the crib aquarium thing or nursing to sleep or strolling to sleep or patting or whatever, just do it. It's part of the process of teaching your child that falling asleep is fun and easy. When the child is ready to move on from the prop, you'll be able to take it away, no matter what that lady at the grocery store says. It won't happen easily in one night, but you can definitely do it if you pay attention to what your child can handle and give yourselves enough time to adjust to the new thing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shiloh: The most genetically blessed baby ever. (Until those twins arrive, at least.)

Britney is on vacation with her dad and Mel Gibson.

That's odd, right?

In other "news", the Jolie-Pitts went shopping for their soon-to-be babies at Bonpoint, one of the most expensive baby stores around. Apparently they don't know what they're having so they just bought a bunch of stuff, all in white. (I'm so rich, I laugh in the face of stains!) I want to laugh in the face of stains. Mostly I just sigh.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I've got a cold.

Before I had a baby I used to read my friend's blogs and get so frustrated because they only wrote about their kids. I was always like What about you? What are YOU doing? Well, know I know what they were doing.


Scratch that - they were doing a TON, just nothing interesting. (Unless you happen to be 4 months old in which case they are doing something extremely interesting, especially around nap time.) I keep trying to come up with things to write about but my brain is full to brimming with things like nap schedules and incredibly bad song lyrics. (To whit, "Nothing Says I Love You Like A Poop On Your Lap", sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.) Or take this top hit, sung to "Lullabye":

"Baby B is full of beans
Full of beans in a tree
Baby B is full of beans
Full of beans in a tree

Baby B
Full of beans
Full of beans in a tree

Baby B
Full of beans
Full of beans in a tree"

Hey, it's not any worse than "I've Got My Mind Set On You" and that thing won a freakin' Grammy.

I was once cool. Okay, I was never cool but I was at least interesting. Or if not interesting, I was chatty which often counts as interesting if you use enough hand gestures. I know that there are some mommies out there who seem to do it all (some of those mommies also have more than one kid, which stuns the hell out of me) but me? If I get the cat litter scooped it's a productive day. I used to be working on a novel but naps often only last around 20 minutes: roughly enough time to write a paragraph. (But not a clever one.) I aspire to a once-a-day blog so I've been doing much magical thinking about Will and 2 hour naps (Psychology Today has a fantastic article about magical thinking. Made me laugh and think, two things I rarely do while sitting on the pot) but I think I have to face up to the fact that I might be more of a once-a-weeker. Frustrating, considering that this is now my only creative outlet. I'm no longer auditioning, mostly due to the fact that I have no idea what to do with the kid. I used to see women dragging their strollers to auditions, playing Peek-A-Boo with one hand while holding a script in the other. They'd always look so frazzled which makes total sense, seeing as how they'd just had to navigate the subway, an overcrowded waiting room, wary casting directors, encroaching nap times, fussy infants - not to mention their own nerves - all before going in. (At which time they'd search the room for someone willing to give up their own prep time to watch a stranger's baby.) Maybe if I was a "booker" it'd be worth it, but for me auditions were always a crap shoot at best. That said, there's a ton of people who manage it so maybe it's easier than I think.

Please. It's got to suck.

So yeah, not much to report. About me, that is. Will, on the other hand, has a bunch going on: exploring the possibility that my boobs might be fun to bite (the screams should imply that they're not), weaning himself (I keep sticking 'em in, he keeps spitting 'em out), the joys of eating his toes, rolling over both ways, lighting up whenever I walk into the room (makes daddy so jealous!) but refusing to say "uh-MA" anymore, growing some mighty fine apricot colored hair, freaking the F- out over "Goodnight Moon" (what is it about that book?), doing his best to sit unassisted, smiling at strangers (unless they look shifty), refusing to put on weight (still tiny, even with formula), and generally being a joy to be around except at nap time.

That said, the sleep? SO MUCH BETTER. Last night he slept for 11.5 hours. Lest I sound too smug, I fully realize that this will change as soon as he hits his next developmental stage (hell, it may change tonight) but for now I choose to embrace and enjoy. I've also started reading this amazing blog written by a mother of two. All she does is answer reader questions about child rearing but her advice is so funny and dead on. Seriously, she's my new guru. I've also developed a significant, albeit late to the game, obsession with "The Office" (both versions) and am hoping to discover a way to reconfigure my figure before shorts are in season. (Rule #1: When you're not breastfeeding, you can't continue to eat like you are. Dammit.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More pics from the picnic (pics from the 'nic?)

Could the poor kid look any more miserable? (And could this shot be less flattering? Hatchet, I need your skills.)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that originally maypole celebrations had something to do with mating. (Come to think of it, back then the girls probably weren't all that much older than these kids.)

This was actually taken a few days before our picnic but I wanted to include Will's first experience with grass. Apparently it was blissful (aside from those dastardly teeth).

The weaning is slow going

Mother's Day. Wow. I still haven't quite accepted the fact that I'm someone's mom. That said, any excuse for presents is a good one in my book.

I had quite a glorious day. Matt got me a necklace that I really, really wanted (I'm not saying I took him to the store and stood there until he bought it for me... exactly...) and then we went to a nearby community garden and had a picnic. There was a maypole celebration going on and there were all these little dancers in homemade fairy costumes performing a ballet in the grass. One girl, a slightly chubby little number taking it way too seriously, totally reminded me of myself as a kid. I spent years performing in talent shows and 4th of July celebrations (Go 4th! Holla!), refusing to let my pot belly or glasses or lack of talent sway me from my dreams. Watching these girls dance so unabashedly (too young to think about things like sucking in their stomachs) was just heartbreaking, but in a good way. Unfortunately Will was feeling a little out of sorts so I'm not sure he enjoyed our outing as much as we did. His second tooth is coming in and he's been fever-y for the past few days, poor kid. Not that that stopped him from giving me the best Mother's Day present ever: He slept from 7 pm to 6 am! Eleven melonfarming hours. And then he put HIMSELF to sleep for his first nap. I cried. I actually, honestly cried.

Alas, Mother's Day is over and we're back to our old tricks. Will woke up at 3 today. Three in the ay-em, peeps. And no amount of waiting it out or caving in or bouncing or boobing would lull him back to dreamland. He was happy as a lark, singing and cooing (and kicking and rubbing his hand all over my face, which is his new favorite thing and exactly as annoying as it sounds). I stayed up with him - and by "stayed up" I mean "feigned sleep" - until 5 am, at which point I handed him over to his sleepy pop who entertained (see: "feigned sleep") until 6 am, which was slightly more humane starting time. I was sure he'd konk out hours before his first scheduled nap (FIVE HOURS LATER) but this kid is like the freaking Energizer Bunny. He's discovered the joy of volume, and that, combined with his newfound upper register, means hours of swooping shrieks. Anyone want to come babysit?

And the teeth...

I remember reading somewhere that babies can't bite you while breastfeeding because of the position of their tongue. I call bullshit on that bullshit. While I haven't been bitten per se, Will no longer unlatches by opening his mouth, preferring instead to drag those razor sharp baby teeth all the way down my nipple. Let me tell you, baby teeth are SHARP. They're not like ours, ground down by years of chewing. It's like being mauled by a puppy. (Did I tell you about the dream I had about the baby shark attached to my tit? Subtle, Subconscious.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

After a seemingly neverending winter, we've finally hit delicious, precarious spring. I always get a bit giddy when the weather's like this - "balmy", I believe they call it - mostly because I know we've got approximately a half a minute before we're plunged into the stinky summer sweats. I say this every year, but summertime in New York City is the grossest. I'll save my trade for when the temps hit triple digits but suffice it to say that those with the means to flee, do. Being a touch under-moneyed, we're stuck here cooling our heels in the tub. Which brings me to the bigger issue - warm weather maintenance. I've already started my annual hunt for the perfect summer shoe; a Herculean task by any standard. Every year I'm convinced that I'll find it and every year I end up with some sad, clearance rack Aerosoles number. Here's the problem: in my head I'm a ballet flat. Simple, streamlined, effortlessly chic - the type of woman who can pull off a pair of skinny jeans. But in reality? Birkenstock, baby. Actually, I'm not even that cool. I aspire to be Birkenstock. (But only the cute little silver jobbies.) Every summer I gravitate toward the Birks and every summer they end up back on the shelf. For a comfortable shoe, they sure... aren't. I see the little hipsters swanning around in their beat up Birks and gauzy sundresses and get all inspired, but somehow I always end up less Angelina and more Eileen Fisher.

And then there's the whole pedicure thing.

The problem with living in a city where you walk everywhere is that everyone gets a good look at your toes, so naturally you want to make them as inoffensive as possible. That's not so tricky if you're able to motor your way around, but after slopping through the city streets my feet need tiny Hazmat suits. (The first thing I always do when I get home is take off my shoes. If I'm wearing sandals I immediate go to the tub and wash off my feet. You'd be amazed - and probably vomity - at the color of the water when I'm through. If that's what's on my feet, what the hell's in my lungs?) I'd love to get weekly pedicures (I hear that there are women who do. They're probably the same ones swanning around in my Birks) but at $50 a pop after tip, I'm lucky to get one - well I'm not going to say how infrequently I go. Let's just say it's about as often as I buy bathing suits.

Aw, christ. I have to buy a bathing suit.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm still too nervous to flush the toilet though. (It's really loud.)

I'm totally courting the jinxing gods by writing this, but my son has been asleep - in his crib - for 57 minutes now.

Where's Guinness, because this is a freaking world record.

What's more? For the past two nights Will has slept like a human. We've gone from absolute hysteria for hours on end to less than five minutes of half-hearted protests and then out like a light. We lay him down, he rolls on his stomach, and sleeps for - get this - 9 to 10 hours. Solid. He still wakes up at 4 am but now we just pull him into bed. And you know, it's not that bad. He nurses for a few minutes and then buries himself in my armpit and conks out. (Ah, the soothing scent of deodorant.) Want to know our secret? Getting him really drowsy. I mean reallllllly drowsy. He's still technically awake when we do the transfer - he always opens his eyes - but he's pretty close to the edge when we put him down. I hear him self-soothing at various points throughout the night so I know he can do it... That's not cheating, right? (Cheating, schmeeting! He's a-freaking-sleep!)

1 hour, 15 minutes. And counting.

Monday, May 5, 2008

W is for Willful

I went wild for these baby tees at the Union Square Christmas market but I was still pregnant and we hadn't settled on Will's name. But now I think I've come up with the perfect customization...

Due to popular demand...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

He may not sleep, but he sure is cute...

Trader Joe's sells $2 bottles of chardonnay. Indeed they do.

Suckadelic: The state in which something is so tremendously awful that it splinters into thousands of bright, equally awful pieces, leaving one with the sense that life has been turned upside down. Often accompanied by music (see: crying) and liberal doses of drugs (see: Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck).

Day 16 - The view from the trenches: While I wouldn't say that Cry It Out has been a complete failure, it certainly hasn't been the three day boom everybody promised. Two weeks now and it's still nearly as bad as it was on day 1. He still cries anywhere from five minutes (a Christmas miracle) to 45 minutes (the usual; definitely puts a damper on date night). He still wakes up at 4 am and will not (or cannot, we can't decide) go back in the crib. I've tried everything: nursing until totally asleep then easing him into the crib, nursing him until drowsy then easing him into the crib, nursing then rocking, you name it. So far we've been leaving him to cry hoping he'll self-soothe, but instead the poor guy works himself into an absolute lather. I know we're supposed to let him cry but after 2 hours (you read that right) of nightly hysteria we all hit the point of no return. For the past few nights we've ended up pulling him back into bed which goes against everything we're trying to teach, but at some point we have to get some sleep. (Plus, our poor neighbors!) When I peek through the slats in his crib I can see him trying to self-soothe (sucking his fingers, rubbing his face on his blankie) but it just doesn't seem to work. We're caught in a cycle of damned if we do, damned if we don't: if we pull him into bed we're thwarting his self-soothing, but he's crying for TWO HOURS A NIGHT! For weeks! Even our $350 sleep "expert" admitted defeat. ("Maybe the timing is off.") People keep telling me that it's because we started him too early (Ferber, the man who pioneered Cry It Out, doesn't recommend it until the baby is 6 months) or maybe it's Will's ridiculous early teething or maybe we've totally F-ed this kid up, I don't know. I mean the reason people endure the hell of CIO is that it never fails! At what point do you admit defeat? Yesterday when we started the nightly routine he immediately started panicking - sobbing, reaching up for me crying "uh-MA!" (the beta version of "mama"). And I won't even go into what happened when we experimented with crying at naptime today. It took him almost an hour to calm down, even while being held in our arms. This is starting to feel less like teaching and more like borderline abuse. And I say this as someone who has no trouble letting kids cry. (Er, that sounds bad coming from a former nanny.)

So here I am, in bed by 9 pm, still holding Will for his three daily naps (total time: 6 1/2 hours). We aren't supposed to work on naps until his nights are completely sorted so I figure I've got at least a few more weeks, if not months, before we move to those. Seriously, I don't know people who practice attachment parenting do it. I love my child to bits but I'm starting to lose my shit. On the plus side, I started watching The Office which is a piece of comedy genius. I can watch an entire season in 4 naps! (Another bit of genius? Iron Man. Jon Favreau's come a long way from Elf. Although I'm a little uncertain about Robert Downey Jr.'s facial hair...)